Catholics Urged to Offer Contribution to European Convention

Pope Again Pushing for the Voice of Christianity in the Union´s Future

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 3, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II urged Catholics to offer their contribution to the European Convention, the social-political forum that is outlining the constitutional and institutional future of the European Union.

The Pontiff made his appeal Saturday when he met with members of the Ecclesial Movement for Cultural Commitment (MEIC), whose origins go back to a 1932 initiative of members of Italian Catholic Action.

“Without ever reducing faith to culture, the Church makes an effort to give a cultural background to the life of faith, so that the latter will inspire the whole of private and public life, the national and international reality,” the Pope explained during the audience.

“In this connection, you know with what interest the Vatican follows the work of the European Convention,” he added. “I myself have had the opportunity to express my disappointment over the omission of a reference to Christian and religious values in the writing of the Charter of Fundamental Rights” of the European Union.

In writing this document, approved in 2000, a reference in the preamble to the “Christian roots of Europe” was eliminated because of pressures exerted by the French government.

Since Feb. 28, the European Convention, convoked by the European Council, has been examining questions posed by the reform, including entry to new member countries, and the way to guarantee democratic legitimacy.

The convention has invited representative organizations to participate in its June 24-25 session. Contributions to the discussion may be made through its Web page at european-convention.eu.int/default.asp?lang=EN.

“I very much hope that the Ecclesial Movement for Cultural Commitment will mobilize so that the religious component will not be ignored, which over the centuries has imbued the formation of European institutions,” the Pontiff said.

“The Christian patrimony of civilization, which has contributed so much to the defense of the values of democracy, liberty, solidarity among the peoples of Europe, must not be lost or neglected,” the Pope added.

The Holy Father encouraged MEIC to commit itself to ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, in keeping with the “Decalogue of Assisi” which he proposed Jan. 24 during the Day of Prayer for Peace.

“Although it is difficult to live together without political and economic peace, there can be no life worthy of man without religious and inner peace,” John Paul II concluded.

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